Honoring Treaties, IITC celebrates the passage and honors the long struggle, in the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
History is made for Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations!
Treaty Rights, Land Rights and Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples are recognized internationally with the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly on September 13th 2007. On September 13, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
One hundred forty-four states ("countries") voted in support (Montenegro registered their vote after the fact). 4 voted against and 11 abstained. The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand voted against the adoption, stating that in their view it "goes too far" in recognizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples. A burst of spontaneous applause from states, Indigenous Peoples and United Nations officials broke out when the final vote was posted on a huge electronic tally sheet at the front of the General Assembly hall.
This vote is of special significance for the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), which was founded in 1974 with a mandate to bring Treaty rights and Treaty violations to the United Nations (UN). With the adoption of the Declaration, for the first time, the UN officially recognizes that the rights affirmed in Treaties are "matters of international concern, interest, responsibility and character" and that states are obligated to uphold and honor them.
The vote marks a historic day for the world's Indigenous Peoples. This is the first time that Indigenous Peoples have been recognized as "Peoples" without qualification in an international instrument. The Declaration also recognizes Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights to self-determination, traditional lands, territories and natural resources, cultures and sacred sites, means of subsistence, languages, identities as well as their traditional life ways and concepts of development based on free, prior and informed consent, among others.
Photo: Roberta Blackgoat of Cactus Valley, Ariz. on the Navajo Nation before her flight to the Spirit World/Photo Brenda Norrell
Photo: IITC Board 2005